Monthly Archives: June 2016

Enga Ooru Madrasu

Madras or Chennai or However you name it, It’s more than just a city for me. Not just me, I believe it’s the same with most of the Chennaites here. Beyond its history and rich culture, it’s its people that make this city a loving one. The People of Chennai stood strong and united against the worst floods and that portrayed the humble yet mighty spirit of the city. There are million more reasons to take pride in this city. I am a proud Chennaite. This is a prompted post written with Chennai Bloggers Club for the campaign #WhatIsYourPincode. This post is all about PinCodes that were/are not only part of my address, but also part of my life.

600081 – Tondiarpet

This place owns lots of my early childhood memories as we stayed there till my 5th grade. It’s where my dad grew up and it’s where my grandma home is.  This place earlier called as “Lebbai Kaadu” got its name cos of a Muslim saint named Kunangudi Masthan Sahib. He was called Thondiar as he hailed from Thondi in Ramanathapuram District. As he meditated in this place it came to be known as Tondiarpet.

Like many other areas in the north Chennai, this one is an unsung hero too. It houses many manufacturing units, oil refineries, warehouses and export houses. The most famous Metal Box Factory which manufactured iconic ponds powder tins and Indian Oil cans used to operate there. The factory got closed as plastic became more popular and affordable, now only the ruins of the factory remain and sparingly used for film shootings.

How many of you know that one hospital here played a major role in eradicating SmallPox. Yes, it’s Chennai Corporation’s Communicable Diseases Hospital, which is dearly called as Cholera Hospital by the locals. All credits go to Dr. Ayyagari Ramachandra Rao a.k.a Slayer of SmallPox, who was its first Superintendent between 1959 and 1964. He set up a smallpox virus laboratory there and assisted Dr. Henry Kempe of the University of California in developing a more effective vaccine against smallpox. The improved vaccine saved millions of lives and Dr. Kempe was nominated for the Nobel Prize for the same. Now it’s a Three hundred and fifty bedded hospital with a full-fledged laboratory facility for diagnosis and treatment of all communicable diseases also and serving as a teaching institution.

600019 – Thiruvottiyur

This is one place which my heart misses so much now, I miss its people, beach, crowd and the chaos. It was my home for 13 years since we moved out of Tondairpet and majority of my life was built around it. The name of this place originated from the Tamil infinitive ‘orutral’ which means ‘to exempt’. As two stories centered around the origin of this place and both the stories were exempted in naming this place which is special. Anything that’s special gets a prefix “Thiru” in Tamil, so the name “Thiru Orutriya Oor” which means the specially exempted town. Later got its colloquial name “Thiruvottiyur“, the name which is used at present. Very interesting entomology isn’t it.

It’s mostly a residential place. It is surrounded by industrial areas such as Ennore and Manali, so most of its residents were the ones who work in factories and the fishermen who fish by the coast. Talking about factories, it used to be the only place where the Royal Enfield bullets were manufactured until an additional unit was opened near Oragadam.

Thirovittuyur Periya Kovil (Big Temple) a.k.a Thyagaraja Swamy & Vadivudai Amman Temple here is one of the oldest temple complexes in Chennai, which is said to exist since 7th Century. This temple was said to be expanded by Rajendra Chola I son of  Raja Raja Chola. Unlike my dad and my friends who are regulars to this temple, I rarely visit during festivals and uzhavarapani (temple cleaning). Very near to the coast, lies the resting place of the famous Tamil saint Pattinathar.

600013 – Royapuram

Royapuram, that’s where my aunt’s (my mom’s sister) house is. I used to spend weekends and school vacations there along with my cousins as it wasn’t that far from Thiruvottiyur. I would sit up on its terrace for hours and curiously look into the huge heap of iron ore being transferred into bulk carriers and containers being loaded onto the ships by cranes. This place got its name from the famous St Peter’s Church located there. As St Peter is called Rayappar in Tamil, the Rayappar Puram got colloquially transformed into its current name “Royapuram“.

This place is yet another unsung hero of North Chennai. Royapuram railway station which was built on 1856 is the oldest railway station in south India and oldest surviving railway station in the Indian subcontinent. This area is also famous for the Parsi Fire Temple which was built during 1910 and its the only one of its kind in Chennai. It is a major seafood export hub too, The famous Kasimedu fishing harbor which is  one of the 6 major fishing harbors in India in terms of volume belongs here. N4 bridge, my favorite peace spot is an integral part of this harbor. This might surprise you, this area also houses a museum specially dedicated to India’s greatest mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujam. One thing that’s must try in this area is C.Kunhiraman & Sons mango ice cream. This small provision store has been selling their signature mango ice cream for more than 70 years for a reasonable prize.

600126 – Madambakkam

This is where I am now, writing this blog post. We moved here from Thiruvottiyur as we got our first and only own home here. It’s  calm and purely residential neighborhood. “Madam” means multi-storied residents. As this place used to abound of such buildings, it got its name “Madambakkam”.

This place is well known for its Dhenupureeswarar Temple. This 1000+ years old temple is said to be built by Chola king, Parantaka Chola II, father of Raja Raja Chola. This old temple was restored and currently been conserved by  Archaeological Survey of India and has been declared a monument of national importance under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains 2010 Act.

My sincere thanks to CBC for the prompt and giving me an opportunity to write about areas that are close to my heart. I felt really good and nostalgic while writing this post. Chennai I love.

Trek to Sandakphu – Part 4 – Sillunu Oru Sandakphu

Recap from the last post: We were at Kala Pokhari

The title “Sillunu Oru Sandakphu” directly translates to “Sandakphu, the one which is cold”. On 28-04-2016 (Day 4) I woke up with the sound of the wind vibrating the metal panels of our room. With nothing much to do, I laid down for a while beneath those thick woolen blankets. I did what I like to do often, dream with my eyes open, for no reasons too many things rushed into my mind. You will know the tea is ready when you hear the whistle. I filled my cup and headed outside hoping for some fresh air. All it resulted in was my tea getting cold in minutes. Here, the Sun rises as early as me. Probably cos it’s summer and one common time zone across India. The morning looked too beautiful than yesterday eve, think the sunshine made the magic. I went around with my camera to capture some light along with Prem and Lavanya. Everything around appeared fresh and green. The sky was clear and the view of sun rays reflecting over the small dark lake was spectacular. As usual, had out breakfast, clicked the customary group pic. packed our bags and by 9.00 am we started to trek further.

The path was much steeper than ever. My fine stamina and some good company helped to cope up with the terrain. Initial 3.5 km wasn’t that demanding. On the way, Sowmya climbed somewhere and got a bunch of Rhododendron, a flower quite abundant in that area. We even tasted a bit of its nectar. Then, there was a huge staircase kinda structure which housed a small shrine on its top. We all sat on those steps and took a group pic. Our guide Avinash (Cute Avinash) took us through all those sharp shortcuts. They were too steep that at times I have to catch hold of those small bushes to climb. With occasional rests, I somehow managed to keep myself moving. Around 12.15 pm, myself and whistle Vihari reached Sandakphu (3636 mt) and we were the ones in out group to reach there first. Our camp leader Mr. Abhijit Roy was already there on the top to welcome us. While waiting for other friends in the group to return, we simply relaxed outside the lodge as the weather was clear and pleasant. Once everyone is in, rooms were allotted and was served a hot & spicy soup. Soups are always comforting, especially in the cold weather, aren’t they?. The Soup induced my appetite which was later neutralized by the lunch. As the water is much scarce here, we were advised to use it very wisely.

A few of us decided to take rest in the lodge while the rest (including me) were too certain about trekking further to the viewpoint along with our camp leader. We trekked another 500 mt uphill to reach there and it marks the highest point in West Bengal. “Yaay, Mission Accomplished” I shouted out of joy and that feeling is worth all the pain trekking all along. It felt like being on the top of the world. The place was awesome and the view was spectacular with the clouds pass by. I really pity the ones who missed it. As we were on the Indo-Nepal border, there was a pillar with “India” written on one side and “Nepal” on the other. So, all I did was, kept on jumping between two countries and try to be in both countries at the same time. Though it might sound crazy, it was total fun. In a fine weather, one could view both Mount Everest and Kangchenjunga from the viewpoint, but unfortunately, the weather was cloudy. We waited for the Sun to show some mercy and show up, but no luck. As they say, the weather was unpredictable on the mountains, suddenly it became freezing and windy. We started to descend back after having some hot tea and soupy Magi from a small hotel there. As much as you, I too wonder about the existence of hotel in such extreme places. The visibility went down below 30%, luckily our guide’s torch and Mr. Abhijit’s headlamp guided us back safely to the lodge. As usual, our MC took charge of the evening. This time, we played truth or dare and for a change, Mr. Biswas sang a song for us as his daughter and wife felt too shy to sing for us. We all decided to finish off our dinner quick and sleep early so that we could see the sunrise early the next morning.

As always, our Whistle Vihari was spot on in his duty. His whistle woke up all our tired souls. It was too cold outside. Only a few of us were there, patiently waiting for the sun to raise. After a few minutes, I saw the Sun slowly rise between two mountains, just like how I used to draw when I was a kid. I witnessed one of the beautiful sunrises in my life, as beautiful as that bright bindi between her eyebrows.  With my hands trembling out of cold, I managed to click a few pictures.

To Be Continued …

The Liebster Award & 11 Random Facts About Me

First of all, I thank Janani Viswanathan of Jan’s Doodles for nominating me for The Liebster Award and It was a pure surprise. Nothing is more delightful for me than people reading my posts and it’s even more motivating to get nominated for such. Sorry for taking so long to put up this post on my blog, my procrastination is to be blamed.

LiebsterAward

So, What is the Liebster Award?
The Liebster Award is an award that exists only on the internet and is given to bloggers by other bloggers. The earliest case of the award goes as far back as 2011. Liebster in German means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.

Liebster Award Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  2. Display the Liebster Award on your blog.
  3. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  4. Answer the 11 questions you were asked.
  5. Nominate 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers for the Award and have them answer 11 questions.
  6. Let the other bloggers know you’ve nominated them.
  7. Copy the rules into your post.

11 Random facts about me

  1. My name spells unique is not cos of  numerology, but cos of a mistake.
  2. I was born in Pondicherry, but I don’t booze.
  3. I am an ardent A.R.Rahman fan since my childhood.
  4. I am a big foodie. Even talking about good food will brighten my eyes and put a huge smile on my face.
  5. I am not much of a sweet tooth person, but I love chocolates.
  6. I dislike dairy products. So, a big no to Milk, Cheese, Butter and all that.
  7. I love beaches, nothing feels like the touch of the sea waves on my feet.
  8. I have travelled 8000+ km across India continuously for 15 days by train.
  9. I love to read, my fav genres are crime, mystery and sci-fi.
  10. I love minions. I love to be like them imperfect, silly, happily smiling, food loving and do what I love to do.
  11. I love Bharathiyar poems. A Bharathiyar poem book gifted by my Tamizh teacher while I was in my 7th class is one of my most prized possession.

11 questions answered

1. If you could move to any part of the world right now, where would you go and why?
There are many places I would like to visit.

  • Japan to experience its people and culture
  • Venice and Sicily in Italy for its scenic beauty
  • Iceland for northern lights and some snow
  • Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia for some self-reflection
  • Costa Rica for beaches and mountains
  • Turkey and Morroco for their cross culture

But, like they say, “Sorgamae enralum athu nam oora pola varuma” (though it’s heven it doesnt feel good like my place), It’s always Chennai and Pondicherry where I could LIVE.

2. What’s your favourite season of the year? And why?
Monsoon. Cos it rains and I love rain.

3. Which three novels would you recommend to everybody you meet because you couldn’t put them down?

  • Once I though Harry Potter is for kids and I hated it, cos my friends loved it. But, once I started reading I couldn’t stop until I completed it.
  • Ponniyin Selvan, A must for someone who reads Tamizh.
  • The Kite Runner, It took me a couple of days to come out of that book after completing it. It’s an emotional rollercoaster.

4. What is your favourite way to recover from a long and bad day?
Some good food and music can calm me down.

5. Coffee, tea or…?
Both, but black.

6. Name one thing you taught yourself to do.
To smile, to smile at my failures, to smile while it pains, to smile at myself.

7. What’s the one thing on your bucket list that you absolutely have to do?
Go backpacking alone for a month.

8. Is there a teacher who taught you something that still sticks with you even now? If so, who’s the teacher and what was the lesson?
Yes, my librarian Mr. Kannan. He is the one who motivated me to read books and it still sticks with me.

9. If someone made a movie about you and your life, what genre would it be and why
Definitely comedy, SERIOUSLY speaking, I am a crazy funny person.

10. Is there something you love to do, although most people dislike it?
I love to sing, but unfortunately, I see people having a tough time with my musical skills.

11. What do you see in front of you right now?
My laptop, my office desk and a few toys on it.

Now, 11 people, I would like to nominate for the award.

The Nominees Are (oscar style)

  1. Dr. Sai Sriram – Random Ramblings
  2. Rajathilagam Velmurugan – ARATRIKA SPEAKS
  3. Vid Dev – The Pensieve
  4. Deepak Raghuraman – Namma Area
  5. Gowthama Rajavelu – Creatikaa
  6. Aditya Mantha – Blue Dendrite
  7. Thiyagarajan B – Aadhavum Appavum
  8. Shreya Sudesh – Verve
  9. Uma Muruganantham – WANNABE HUMANE
  10. Upma Singh – Travelling by heart and Author of life!
  11. Hetansh Desai – 50 Shades of Gujju

Dear Nominees,
I have read your posts, liked them and that’s the reason why I have nominated you for this award. I hope this award motivates you to write much more awesome posts. I hope you accept the award and write a post. It’s absolutely fine if the content of your blog doesn’t align with the award post or simply you don’t like to accept the award. Happy Blogging.

My 11 questions to you

  1. Who/What inspires you?
  2. Why do you blog?
  3. Do you have a favorite book – if so, which one?
  4. What do you value most in life?
  5. What does a normal day in your life look like?
  6. What’s your most favourite food?
  7. What’s the most memorable gift which you have ever received?
  8. What do you admire most about yourself?
  9. One favourite track that you like to listen on repeat and never get bored of it?
  10. What’s your dream travel destination?
  11. What’s your peace spot, the place you like to visit when you are down?

One bonus question, an optional one.

One thing that you like and dislike about me?